We often think of casual sex as being trivial and recreational…and what seems more casual than a paid encounter with a sex worker, right But anyone who has spent enough time in the industry knows that the reality is very different. Sex can play a huge role in our personal development…and paying to see a sex pro is a chance to focus on yourself and discover what you enjoy, a former escort and pro domme, who works as an ‘erotic psyche specialist’. It might sound esoteric, but she has some very practical tips to share about good sex, and how exploring your desires with sex workers can help you grow, learn, and live a happier life. Who is Artemisia de Vine Artemisia is a sex industry pro who takes two of my favorite pastimes - sex and self-discovery - and puts them together in a wonderful way. She’s a retired full-service sex worker, with decades of experience. “I started off escorting - at the really basic end of putting an ad in the newspaper, you know, 'busty blonde',” she says. “Since then, I've explored the full spectrum of sexual expressions from sensual, to kinky and full BDSM, including a variety of spiritual sexuality traditions. I'm mostly known for my role as a mistress, but I’ve certainly had a lot of different experiences, including erotic massage, the whole lot.” Her years in the industry have shaped and built up her sexual knowledge. She now teaches the art of ‘purposeful playdates’ - tapping into key elements in her clients’ ‘erotic psyche’ to create sexual sessions that fulfil their deeper needs. She investigates the erotic themes of each individual client, finding out how they work and what turns them on, at a deeper level than just the physical…what she calls your ‘erotic fingerprint’. Artemisia shares her insights into the erotic psyche through. She sometimes offers courses and a lucky few get access to private coaching. “It's very specific,” she says. “It's not ‘how to give a great blow job’. The de Vinery is where you can learn the psychology behind what turns us on and how to play with it on purpose.” So, how does erotic mapping’ work, and why does it matter According to Artemisia, an ‘erotic fingerprint’ is the unique combination of deep desires and attractions that we find sexually fulfilling. We all have unique pattern in our erotic psyche…we can deliberately take a look, when somebody describes what turns them on. And these are the things that are going to make something really hot...or not.” It’s often assumed that eroticism is only about physical appearance and activities. So somebody would come to me because I've got blonde hair and I'm busty and plus size, and that’s their particular thing. They would be able to say to me whether they were more interested in the girlfriend experience or maybe a porn star experience, and maybe ask for specific sex acts. Other than that, though, they generally didn't have much awareness of what motivated them - what actually made something work for them or not. An erotic fingerpint, on the other hand, isn’t always obvious. We often have feelings about escorts that we aren’t conscious of, and attraction goes further than skin deep. Once she starts talking with her coaching clients, Artemisia discovers more. “Their erotic relationship to power is this, their emotional aphrodisiac is this, their arousal style pathways come from this place,” she says. Sex workers are experts at helping our clients to figure out what they really want. We don’t generally give words to this process, but Artemisia has found a way to unpack it with her clients. I created a system,” she says. “There's all of these things that make sex really exciting that they're not necessarily conscious of, and it's different for everyone.” Once they have a deeper understanding of their desires and turn-ons, she helps them plan for the kinds of sexual adventures that hit the right buttons. It might mean exploring a type of power dynamic, such as a kink roleplay, or experimenting with a different kind of sex. When we’re so used to treating sex as something that simply ‘happens’, the idea of planning beforehand might feel strange. But good sex isn’t just about letting things happen. By setting the scene deliberately, she helps her clients focus fully on their own desires in the moment. Once you’ve worked out your own erotic fingerprint, it’s easier to reach the place where you can simply ‘go with the flow’. Even though we like to play without overthinking it, sex is leading us to places inside ourselves...and our turn-ons are the map we need for our mind to navigate its own blocks to letting go. This is ‘sexual flow state’ - moving from a normal everyday way of thinking, where the intellect is in the driver's seat.” The way she describes it, good sex is a lot like throwing a party. You can't just turn up and expect things to happen - you need to plan ahead. There's always a balance of first asking 'what do we want, and how can we make it happen' and then getting in the zone and simply enjoying yourself. Can sex workers help you explore ‘deliberate sexual play Although exploring your erotic needs with a romantic partner may be beneficial, Artemisia says that sex workers can make the work easier. An escort generally won't be hurt or offended if you ask for something specific. So there's a lot of room to experiment, much more than you might have with a partner or a casual date. Seeing sex workers is fantastic, because they can support you in your exploration…that's what sex workers do, She points out that paying for a service means there's less pressure to fulfil all your partner's needs. You can actually have the space to explore. 'What is it that I like What's it like when I get all my needs met What's it like when someone puts their full attention on my particular erotic fingerprint This approach isn’t right for everyone. Some clients aren’t ready to slow down and have the conversation first. “Some people become quite triggered at the idea of being introspective. If that is you, then I guess this is not for you, Artemisia says. Some people worry that if they spend too much time talking, they won’t be able to get down to the business of enjoying themselves. “People don't want to talk about this stuff first - they just want to be in the spontaneous flow state, and they think that talking about it will block them.” But talking isn’t really a barrier - rather, it’s an essential first step, revealing the key triggers that will allow them to get into a state of flow. It’s essential to have that conversation about past peak experiences, favourite fantasies, and underlying key erotic elements. Once you recognise them, you can start learning how to bring them into your play sessions. Artemisia says that learning these skills can make your sessions with sex workers even more enjoyable. Once you become aware of your deeper needs, you can specifically ask for the things you know are important to you. When I started deliberately seeking out and tapping into these parts of each client during our playtime together, it changed everything! I can't tell you how many times I heard them say, I honestly had no idea I could feel this way! Would your sex life benefit from a little more purpose Bringing our erotic impulses into the open and accepting them can be great for our self-esteem and wellbeing. We all have these parts of ourselves that we don't get to examine or feel…and acknowledging our desires can help us accept more of ourselves. “It's definitely a process but it's a really fun process,” Artemisia says, “I don't know about you, but I get ‘insightgasms’. And suddenly everything clicks together,” All this introspection, self knowledge and planning leads to much better sex…and there's a lot of potential for the kind of self-discovery that spills out of the bedroom and into your everyday life. It's connecting with more layers of yourself and getting to know more layers of your own mind. You discover there's a whole universe inside.